Connor Hood, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - David Kapinga scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting, leading the No. 2 Calgary Dinos to their 6th Canada West Championship with an 84-77 win over the No. 1. Alberta Golden Bears, Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre in the conference title game.
Calgary, who's now won seven conference overall, outscored Alberta 45-36 in the second half, upsetting the top-ranked Golden Bears in the conference championship game. The conference title for Calgary is also their second in three seasons, after also winning in 2016.
"I'm so proud of our guys," Vanhooren told Canada West TV after the game. "They worked really hard at our game plan, they battled for every rebound. We just beat a really good basketball team, by doing what we were supposed to do. David had a tremendous basketball game tonight, and it showed why he was on the FISU national team with us and such a leader for us. Our perimeter created so many turnovers, which has been our M.O. all year."
Along with Kapinga, Connor Foreman was also big for the Dinos, posting 15 points, while Jhony Verrone dropped in 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor.
"Coming back after getting swept for the first time in three years during the season (against Alberta). To come back and win on their gym. It's incredible," said Foreman.
"It's another step. We have three more games next week, and we have to be ready for those. We are gonna come out, and give it our all."
Fourth-year guard Austin Waddoups led Alberta with 16 points, while fellow conference all-stars Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke chipped in with 15 and 13, respectivley. In an uncharacteristically sloppy performance, however, Alberta committed 27 turnovers, with Calgary winning the points off turnovers battle getting 34-7.
The Golden Bears, who defeated Calgary twice in conference play earlier in the season, raced out to a 24-19 lead after the opening quarter, thanks to an absurd 69 per cent shooting performance. Waddoups scored six of his 16 in the opening quarter, while Kapinga kept Calgary within reach with 10 of his 30 in the first.
Kapinga continued to score with ease in the second quarter, adding another eight points, as Calgary chipped into Alberta's lead. Both rivals also cleaned up defensivley in the second, shooting a combined 38 per cent in the second, compared to 58 per cent in the first. Depsite cooling off considerably on offence, Alberta still held a 41-40 half-time lead.
Calgary regained the lead early in the third quarter, as a pair of quick threes pushed the Dinos up 47-44. Kapinga, having an incredibly efficient night, added another seven in the third, as the Dinos took a 63-61 advantage over Alberta into the fourth quarter.
The final frame was arbuably the Dinos best, as they held Alberta to just 16 points, scoring another 21, en route to the seven-point win. Both teams went back-and-forth throughout the fourth, however the Bears were unable to regain the lead. A made layup and a freethrow from Foreman sealed the win for Calgary late in the fourth.
Both teams will now set their sights on the 2018 U SPORTS Final 8, which gets underway next Thursday in Halifax, Nova Scotia.